Dan Feldman

LeBron James takes responsibility for heated exchange with Cavaliers teammate Tristan Thompson (video)

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Late in the Cavaliers’ win over the Pacers last night, LeBron James and Tristan Thompson got into a heated exchange during a timeout. As the players argued about a defensive breakdown, Cleveland coach Tyronn Lue looked powerless to intervene.

These issues flare up commonly enough. What separates this incident: LeBron and Thompson were so enraged at each other, they carried on in front of cameras. Usually, players keep these disputes under wraps publicly and save the harsh yelling until they’re in the locker room.

LeBron pointed the finger at himself after the game:

LeBron:

I’ve got to do a better job of not showing up my teammates out on the floor. I had the right intentions in my mind, but I had the wrong intentions came out of my mouth. So, I take full responsibility for that as leader of the team. So, I can be a lot better than that, be able to keep that in house, in the locker room and when we’re watching film.

That LeBron offered such a level-headed take while still on the court after an exhausting game bodes well. Sometimes, these things take longer to cool down.

The Cavs aren’t out of the woods yet, though. Their defense has been bad enough to cause more squabbling, and we haven’t yet seen precisely how LeBron and Thompson will move on.

But they’re connected through their agent, Rich Paul, and a playoff run has a way of bonding teammates together. This will probably be fine.

It’d help if Lue unveils his secret defensive plan soon. Fewer breakdowns would mean fewer opportunities for bickering.

Rumor: Gordon Hayward, if he leaves Jazz, could join Heat

AP Photo/Rick Bowmer
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The plucky Heat have made a playoff push behind their point guard (Goran Dragic) and center (Hassan Whiteside).But even if they reach the postseason, the Heat could use long-term upgrades between.

With Chris Bosh likely coming off the cap, for one offseason at least, this summer is the time for Miami to spend.

So, with that circumstantial evidence pointing toward the Heat pursuing Gordon Hayward if he opts out this summer, here’s a little more.

Frank Isola of the New York Daily News:

There are already whispers that if Utah can’t re-sign Gordon Hayward he could end up in Miami.

 

The Jazz can offer Hayward more money and a better team. If he makes an All-NBA team, he might not hit the market at all.

But Hayward has never picked Utah. The Jazz drafted him then matched his offer sheet from Charlotte once he hit restricted free agency.

That’s part of the reason his name pops up in so many rumors — some more likely than others. Where does Miami fall on the spectrum? Its quality organizational culture, warm weather, night life and lack of a state income tax always open doors.

My guess is still Hayward staying in Utah. After all, Isola mentions the Heat only if the Jazz don’t re-sign him.

 

Hornets’ Briante Weber kicks one fan’s beer into another fan’s face (video)

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The Hornets signed Briante Weber to make hustle plays.

These fans sitting courtside might wish Charlotte hadn’t.

Giannis Antetokounmpo: I told Thon Maker, ‘If you hesitate, I’m going to punch you’

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Bucks rookie Thon Maker scored a career-high 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, including making a couple big shots in overtime of Milwaukee’s win over the Pistons last night.

Giannis Antetokounmpo on Maker:

He brings energy. Rebound the ball. He runs the floor. He does a little bit of everything.

But the most important thing is listening, and he’s learning. And I told him, “To play in this game, you don’t have to hesitate. If you hesitate” – I told him, actually in the overtime, I told him – “If you hesitate, I’m going to punch you. So, shoot the ball whenever you get it.”

Leadership!

Cody Zeller just keeps rising over Nikola Jokic to dunk on him (video)

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Nuggets center Nikola Jokic is one of the NBA’s best young players, and he showed why against the Hornets with a triple-double (26 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists).http://nba.nbcsports.com/2017/02/26/briante-weber-charlotte-hornets-10-day-contract-warriors/

Jokic is also a unimposing rim protector. And he showed that against Charlotte, too.

Don’t underestimate Cody Zeller, either. He helped the Hornets to a 122-114 win. They’re now 32-24 with him and 3-17 without him.